NCAA Final Four Kentucky Louisville Basketball

Kentucky, Louisville among 21 Division I schools honored by NABC

1 Comment

On Thursday the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) announced its inaugural Team Academic Excellence Awards, which are given out to programs at the Division I, II and III levels of both the NCAA and NAIA that have posted a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher.

Twenty-one Division I programs were honored, including Belmont, Bucknell, Stanford and Texas.

Also on the list are rivals Kentucky and Louisville, with the Wildcats posting a team GPA of 3.23 and having 12 players who finished the year with a GPA of at least 3.0.

Twelve UK players accumulated a 3.0 GPA or higher in the spring semester including Twany Beckham and Jarrod Polson who were honored individually by the NABC for academic excellence.

Under coach John Calipari, the Wildcats have tallied a 3.0 or higher cumulative team GPA during the spring semester in each of the last three seasons including during the 2012 National Championship run.

As for the national champion Cardinals, they finished the 2012-13 academic year with a team GPA of 3.295. Rick Pitino’s program won the Big East’s Conference Team Academic Excellence Award in both 2011 and 2012, with the 2013 winners yet to be announced.

Louisville received an NCAA Public Recognition Award in 2013 for ranking among the top ten percent in men’s basketball in the Academic Progress Rate, which measures academic eligibility, retention and graduation for student-athletes.

The academic achievement is not new to the Cardinals. UofL’s men’s basketball team earned the 2010-11 and 2011-12 BIG EAST Conference Team Academic Excellence Awards, which recognizes the highest collective grade-point averages in each of the conference’s 23 sports (2012-13 awards have not been announced yet). The men’s basketball team has hovered around a collective 3.0 GPA for 10 straight semesters, including a 3.18 GPA for the most recent spring 2013 semester.

The 21 NCAA Division I schools to be honored by the NABC are: American, Belmont, Bucknell, The Citadel, Denver, Eastern Washington, Indiana State, Kentucky, UL Monroe, Louisville, Mercer, Rice, South Dakota State, Southern Utah, Stanford, Texas, Texas Tech, Utah, Western Michigan, William & Mary and Youngstown State.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Knee injury temporarily sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
Associated Press
Leave a comment

With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.

Duke figuring out approach for this season

Duke University head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski speaks with the media about the Blue Devils' 2013-14 basketball season, Wednesday, March 26, 2014, in Durham, N.C. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Duke is coming off of a national championship but the roster will look almost completely different for the 2015-16 season. That means last season’s approach to things on the offensive and defensive end will have to change and head coach Mike Krzyzewski mentioned to reporters on Friday how the Blue Devils are still figuring some things out.

“We’re putting in a different offensive system, to personalize it for these guys,” Krzyzewski said to reporters. “And a different defensive system so that we can max out on the talents that they have.

“We’re really proud of our team. I think we’re going to be a really good team.”

Without Jahlil Okafor in the middle, Duke’s offense could shift to a mostly perimeter-oriented team, as the wing and guard depth is superior for this year’s group.  Coach K and his staff making adjustments to schemes to fit personnel is a nice move from the Hall of Famer, as he’s done a better job in recent years of making adjustments like this after his stint with USA Basketball.

As the program moves on from Okafor, Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow and Quinn Cook, it’ll be intriguing to see who emerges as a potential go-to offensive player early in the season and how Duke’s offense potentially evolves as the season wears on.